Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

A "bisque" is traditionally a creamy seafood soup, but these days you'll see the term used for any creamy soup, whether or not it contains crustaceans. This lovely-hot-creamy-soupy-bisquey delight came to me in sort of a waking dream, and demanded that I make it right away. I obeyed, and all present were well rewarded.

Roasted Red Pepper Bisque
Makes 4 big bowls

4 large red bell peppers
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 T olive oil
2 T Earth Balance "butter"
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
1 box (32 oz.) almond milk
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes or more, and drained
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/4 tsp sweet smoked paprika
3 T tamari

Cut the bell peppers in half lengthwise, tear off the stems, and clean out the seeds. Place on an oiled cookie sheet, skin side up, and flatten with your hand. Broil the peppers until the skins turn black. Quickly place the blackened peppers in a paper bag, or a bowl, and cover tightly so the peppers can steam. After about 15 minutes, remove the blackened skins from the peppers, and chop them coarsely.

Heat the oil and butter in a soup pot over medium heat, and add the onions and celery. Cook until the onions begin to soften and look translucent - about 5 minutes.

Stir in the roasted peppers, then add all other ingredients.

Pour the soup into your blender - in two or more batches if necessary - and blend at high speed until smooth. Return to the soup pot and heat to steaming. Adjust seasonings and serve with a drizzle of Pesto Cream and a sprinkle of toasted pine nuts.

Pesto Cream
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 20 minutes or more, and drained
1 cup fresh basil, packed
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 large clove fresh garlic
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients in your blender or food processor, and blend on high speed until very smooth. Pour into a plastic squirt bottle, and drizzle over the finished bisque.